Ian Martin dreams up a post-Shoreditch pop-up, and needs to develop it quickly…
MONDAY Being an auteur of epic space isn’t always easy. You have to take the rough with the smooth. And sometimes you have to bring together the very rough (my fixer Rock Steady Eddie) and the very smooth (my friend Darcy Farquear’say the architecture critic and his overdressed dachshund, Bauhau).
Darcy and I have thought of a pop-up idea so exquisite it’s a kind of mental torture. Post-Shoreditch. Just far enough ahead of the curve to be showing its arse to the hipster peloton.
This idea is SO good, we need to get it into development asafp, before another pair of slightly drunk acquaintances with a dog in a little hat come up with it too. If we’re to succeed we need Eddie’s fast-track mind, business acumen and underworld contacts.
TUESDAY ‘Is it a bitch?’ asks Eddie, squinting hard at Bauhau and helping himself to another of Darcy’s offal-and-rhubarb nibbles.
Eddie’s out of his comfort zone. We’re in this week’s most chictastic restaurant, an ephemeral dining experience created in a dilapidated Brighton drill hall, called SHOLDER. The twist is, the food’s done by an ageing Young British Artist and the décor’s by a 1970s TV chef.
Also, Bauhau’s wearing leopard print hotpants and salmon-pink bootees.
‘A bitch?’ Darcy gasps asthmatically. ‘Bauhau’s utterly a boy dog, thank you very much’. Eddie looks impressed. ‘Well he’s come to the right place innit. Brighton? Full of ‘em. Waitress! Another go of them kidney phings and two more poofs’ cocktails for my paedo friends. Get us a lager top, I’m spitting feathers here. Whoa. I’m not being offensive love, but are you Asian? I know a lot of trannies are…’
I get Eddie off the premises while Darcy stays to be horrified for all of us.
WEDNESDAY Every cloud. Eddie blamed his disgusting rainbow of phobias on some bad gear he’d had, apologised to everyone and in his humility has pitched our project to Irish Connie, London’s pop-up queenpin, who apparently will ‘bite our hands off’. He feints a biting motion and barks at Bauhau, who reacts adorably by soiling his hotpants.
THURSDAY Send our outline proposal to Irish Connie. It’s a pop-up restaurant combining the two things we secretly miss most about the 20th century: the Cold War and tinned food.
Imagine a basement diner done out like a 1980s nuclear bunker, with TINNED ITEMS ONLY on the menu. It’s as if everything really DID go tits up after Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s second single. Staff in radiation suits and masks. Brutalist tables and chairs. Stencilled signage in Impact Bold. Rough concrete. Behind a long, heavy glass wall, a slow conveyer belt full of tinned food. You relay your dinner order via military walkie-talkie to anonymous ‘lab assistants’. With massive gauntlets and long grippers they assemble your nuclear dinner for preparation in the Heating Area.
People will love this. Think about those immersive film nights, where they pay a fortune to dress as an extra on the set of Fight Club or Shawshank Redemption, queuing up for a beating or a difficult trip through a sewer. How much more stylish to be eating food from tins and pretending you’re in a BBC Play For Today.
Eddie, Darcy and I are simultaneously excited and ravenous. Bauhau just barks excitedly, I suppose that’s his job. ‘Oh yes darling, there’ll be tinned dog food too!’ coos Darcy.
I point out that, as it’s a nuclear bunker, pets must be left outside to die. Eddie cackles. Darcy bristles. Bauhau remains enigmatically stupid.
FRIDAY Thumbs-up from Irish Connie. Backing secured! More good news – another of those deeply cherished live music venues that make London so very special has just had its rent quintupled, so a tasty basement space has become available.
SATURDAY Irish Connie says our proposed restaurant name – Cool War – isn’t mimsy enough for today’s discerning wankers. She suggests TIN-TINS, which will chime but not infringe. Sorted.
And ‘fun designers’ East Algia are on board. Their recent underwater pop-up diner, Rejection, served food that had been partially digested and then regurgitated by dolphins, still warm.
SUNDAY Planning a tasting menu in the recliner. Watney’s Red Barrel. Tinned nuts, olives. Pre-mixed margarita. Little can of muscadet. Tinned Bismark herring. Fray Bentos steak pie, giant marrowfat peas, big tin of gutsy claret …
Cor. Put on some Shostakovich. Have tinned lunch.